Safe Dates

Prevention; Ages 14–15


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective delinquency program


Safe Dates, a program designed to prevent dating violence, consists of school and community interventions targeting eighth- and ninth-graders. The program’s school activities consisted of changing norms associated with partner violence, decreasing gender stereotyping, improving conflict management skills, and help-seeking training. Community activities consisted of special services for adolescents in violent relationships and community service provider training. At follow-up—one month after the program ended—the researchers found that compared with students in control schools, students in treatment schools exhibited less psychological abuse perpetration, less sexual violence perpetration, and less violence perpetrated against the current dating partner. In a subsample of adolescents reporting no preprogram dating violence, there was less initiation of psychological abuse in treatment schools than in control schools. Most of the program effects were explained by the school activities, not the community activities. Few victims of dating violence sought help from traditional community agencies.

Risk Factors

Early dating/sexual activity/fatherhood
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
Life stressors
Violent victimization
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency


OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Exemplary program


Vangie A. Foshee, Ph.D.
Health Behavior and Health Education
319b Rosenau Hall
Campus Box 7440
135 Dauer Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7440
Phone: (919) 966-6616
Fax: (919) 966-2921


Foshee, V. A.; Bauman, K. E.; Arriaga, X. B.; Helms, R. W.; Koch, G. G.; and Linder, G. F. (1998). “An Evaluation of Safe Dates, an Adolescent Dating Violence Prevention Program.” American Journal of Public Health, 88:45–50.

Foshee, V. A.; Bauman, K. E.; Ennett, S. T.; Linder, G. R.; Benefield, T.; and Suchindran, C. (2004). “Assessing the Long-Term Effects of the Safe Dates Program and a Booster in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Dating Violence Victimization and Perpetration.” American Journal of Public Health 94(4):619–624.

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